The portfolio of Google products is wide and vast, but can also sometimes be a little confusing as they overlap and cut across each other’s functions. At the recent Google Cloud Next, they made some announcements as to the future of Gmail and Hangouts for businesses and G Suite users. As part of those changes, they are streamlining some of the functions and features of the two apps over the next couple of months to eventually make way for better services later on.
One major change for Hangouts is that it will not receive SMS anymore. You will be prompted to switch to another app, like Android Message, which they are positioning as the “primary place to access SMS” on your Android device. You need not worry that switching to a different app from Hangouts will affect previous SMS as all your messages will still be available when you make the switch. The SMS functionality will be turned off by May 22 so you’ll start receiving the notification to choose a new app or service for your messages.
Google Talk, which has started losing its meaning and purpose the past few years, will now start to fully transition to Hangouts. If you’re still using this, you will be invited to switch to Hangouts and after June 26 you will not have a choice as you will be automatically transitioned there. So whether you’re using the app on its own or within Gmail, you will have to switch to Hangouts, along with its new features like Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.
As Gmail prepares to receive the Gmail Add-Ons feature, some Gmail Labs features will be retired. This includes Authentication Icon, Google Voice Player, Picasa previews, Pictures in chat, Quick Links, Quote Selected Text, Smartlabels, and Yelp previews. . Two legacy features of the Google+ in Gmail will also cease functionality: emailing Google+ profiles and using Google+ Circles. These changes within Gmail will happen by April 24.